Back to Basics- Chocolate Cupcakes

This post in one of the first in a series I am calling – Back to Basics. I am going to draw on the expertise of the people who taught me to cook (my mum, gran and the Internet) . I noticed that I have a lot of younger readers and beginner cooks who message me for tips and advice, and I am hoping this segment will be informative. Now, obviously I don’t know EVERYTHING so I would love to collaborate with any foodies out there on this segment. If you want to share a back to basics recipe and want it featured on my blog please drop me an email. ย Below is a basic chocolate cupcake recipe everyone should have. These are gorgeous cupcakes, they are soft and chocolately, also if you fill the cupcake liners correctly these cupcakes wont peak. I added a few twists with the salt in the buttercream which intensifies the chocolate flavour and the spun sugar as a decoration. Spinning sugar is time consuming and difficult but with time and patience you can get the hang of it. I have also included some hints and tips if you are a beginner baker.

I was never very good at baking until I discovered some tips along the way. One of the most important things I learnt is that cooking is an art, you can go with taste and feel as you cook but baking on the other hand is a science. When you bake accuracy is the key to a good final product. I am by no means and expert at baking but these are few basic tips that can inspire you to success in your culinary conquests. Also, feel free to add your own handy hints ๐Ÿ™‚

– Invest in a digital kitchen scale. I prefer recipes that measure in grams so that there is better accuracy than using cups and spoons.

– Another investment is good quality bake ware. I used silicone muffin tins before and they work brilliantly especially if you have limited space, but I must admit I prefer metallic bake ware.

– Use good quality ingredients. I always splurge on good quality vanilla extract and cocoa powder. It goes a long way in improving the flavour and quality of the final product.

– Know your oven and adjust your temperature accordingly.

 

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My mum taught me to work with caramel when I was younger and over the years I picked up a few tips:

– If you a beginner start with a wet caramel instead of a dry one. A dry caramel is when you put plain sugar in a pot and allow it to caramelise, this happens very quickly and the caramel can burn in seconds. A wet caramel on the other hand includes water with the sugar which you boil together like a syrup and than it gradually changes colour.

– A lot of cooks will tell you that when making a caramel you should brush the sides of the pot down and not stir the mixture. Honestly, I don’t think either thing makes a difference. Even if it looks like the sugar has crystalized don’t stress, it will eventually melt into caramel.

– If you want to spin sugar like a pro, take a wire cutter and cut a ballon whisk in half. Dip the tines in the caramel and flick from a height for some really beautiful sugar work.

– Be very, very careful when working with melted sugar. It burns. BADLY! Always keep a bowl of ice water nearby.

– Spun sugar melts very quickly especially on buttercream so do it just before serving.

– Don’t do sugar work when its very humid outside.

[yumprint-recipe id=’6′]ย P.S. These pics were taken with a cell phone so apologies for the poor quality.

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